'Other parties are exploiting gap in supply, demand'

'Other parties are exploiting gap in supply, demand'

'Other parties are exploiting gap in supply, demand'

Dinesh Mohaniya, the vice chairman of Delhi Jal Board, is also the Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Sangam Vihar, an area which happens to suffer from an acute shortage of water.

One of the city government’s priorities is to bring piped water to unauthorised colonies. Work is on at a good pace, he tells Shagun Kapil in an interview. Edited excerpts:

How is the Delhi Jal Board coping with summer this year? What are the preparations?

We are focusing on increasing the sources of water. For first time, we have thus achieved 950 MGD (million gallons per day) supply this year. Through the ‘Conserve and Use’ initiative at Palla and Wazirabad, there will be additional 60 MGD water. We are extending the pipeline network wherever we can.

This is your government’s second year in power and water availability was one of the main poll promises. There are areas, especially in south Delhi, which went without water for 20 days recently. What has your government done differently to overcome water shortage in such areas?

Southwest and south are the driest, and rocky areas. These areas have the maximum unauthorised colonies. It is our target that we will first make water available here. The Okhla ESI plant has a capacity of 6 MGD and is feeding water to Deoli, Sangam Vihar, Tughlaqabad, Ambedkar Nagar, and the situation has improved. The work is at good pace. Obviously it will take time as we cannot do everything together. But slowly we are covering Delhi till the last end.

We saw protests recently by residents of different colonies over water scarcity. Locals say not much has changed for them under your government in terms of water availability.

There are two things. First is that the expectations of the people from this government are very high. For example, my constituency, Sangam Vihar, had zero per cent pipeline network, and the population is 4 lakh. We have started and around 65 per cent people are getting filtered water through pipelines. But the 35 per cent who are not getting it, they have high expectations – that their neighbour is getting water but they are not. The second issue is  that this is election year (municipal corporation polls) and other parties are exploiting the supply-demand gap.

Talking of Sangam Vihar, even if some blocks have the pipeline network, the water is reaching only a few and for others the situation is like it always has been.

The pipeline network is covering blocks D, G, E, F1, F2, J, I, and the initial area of K17. Now this is the temporary distribution network and it doesn’t have the capacity to carry water till the tail end. For example, I block has 17 streets but water is able to reach only 12. The people at initial stage of the network will have to think that they don’t exhaust all the water and let it flow till the tail end. Once the work is completed and water meters ware in place, we are hopeful of solving this problem.

Other initiatives of the government like e-piao (water kiosks) are also moving slow. When the first one was installed at Indarprastha it was said that by May 15 Delhi will have 100 such machines, and 200 by June.

This is being done through CSR funding. Our first priority is Ring Road and many water ATMs have been installed at crowded places like ISBT, Ashram, near Moolchand Hospital, Maharani Bagh, Vikas Minar near DDA headquarters, etc.

In the wake of a second call for protests by Jats in Haryana, what steps has the government taken to ensure that this time Delhi doesn’t suffer in terms of water?

We are in touch with the Haryana government and they have assured us that Munak Canal will be safe. CISF has been deployed there and there are very less chances that the protesters will damage the machines once again. This time even Haryana government is mentally prepared. And that is why even we are focusing on increasing our resources that we have a backup of at least 10-20 days.

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